By 2017, CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs.

This now-famous prediction was made several years ago by my former Gartner colleague Laura McLellan.

At the time, it was polarizing, to say the least. Depending on who you asked, it was either highly provocative or wholly outrageous. And, according to our latest research, probably right on target!

Gartner’s soon-to-be-published annual CMO spend survey suggests that, for 2016, CMOs allocated 3.24 per cent of revenue to technology spending, which is very close indeed to the 3.4 per cent of revenue CIOs earmark for IT.

This is an important finding.

It suggests that marketing technology, once a relatively narrow and specialised adjunct to enterprise IT, is now garnering investment nearly equivalent to the core systems that run the business.

Why? Because marketing technology is now among these core systems. Customer preferences and behaviours have changed and buying journeys are increasingly self-directed and digitally led. Which means that, more than ever, multichannel marketing is among the most critical customer-facing, revenue-generating functions.

Today, most CMOs own or share P&L responsibility. Many CMOs are responsible for a digital commerce channel. And while customer experience very much remains a team sport, marketing often funds these cross-functional CX initiatives, sets the strategy, and designs the desired-state experience itself — and, in many organisations, owns and controls a growing preponderance of customer touchpoints.

This isn’t meant to be about marketing exceptionalism. And I’m not trying to make the case for how marketing technology will eat enterprise IT. That’s not the point.

The point is that as growth continues to be the top mandate and customer experience emerges as the competitive battlefield, CMOs are taking on ever more responsibility. And as digital marketing becomes marketing in a digital world, technology is woven into virtually every planning assumption.

All of this is driving more and more spending on marketing technology as the engine for driving profitable growth.

More detail on this survey will be available in a few weeks. In the meantime, if you’re a Gartner for Marketing Leaders client, we want to talk to you. Feel free to schedule an inquiry to dig into the data!

Oh, and a shout out to our former Gartner colleague Laura McLellan, hopefully happily ensconced in her hard-earned, well-deserved retirement. Laura, looks like you called it right!

As if there were ever any doubt.

*This article is reprinted from the Gartner Blog Network with permission. 

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